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The Gather & Grow Strategic Plan

Mobilizing to Advance Social Change

In 1931, women leaders in Denver's social sector founded the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) to promote social justice. This tradition of social justice continues to the present day through GSSW’s education, scholarship and service.

Guided by our community, we completed our Gather & Grow strategic plan in 2017. Along with the University’s DU IMPACT 2025 plan, Gather & Grow is our roadmap as we carry our social justice mandate into the future. As we move forward, we will build and strengthen connections within GSSW and with our many communities, mobilize our unique assets to advance change, and move toward greater equity and a more diverse school.

The mission of the Graduate School of Social Work is to promote social justice by advancing scholarship, education and community engagement that leads, connects, mobilizes and transforms.

community members

A Community-Based Planning Process

To ensure that communities with connections to GSSW had an opportunity to contribute to the plan, we surveyed all our stakeholders with questions about possible goals and strategies; more than 500 people responded. We also solicited feedback from the GSSW community on draft goals and strategies through World Cafes, a creative and collaborative process for creating dialogue. A comprehensive scan of GSSW’s internal status and external environment informed the planning process throughout.

Stories of Our Impact

red house in rural Colorado ​

Improving Community Health

With a $1.9 million grant, GSSW and community partners statewide are working to address a shortage of behavioral health providers in rural and medically underserved areas.

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Ortega

Tackling Systematic Racism

GSSW Prof. Debora Ortega is looking at social work’s grand challenges through a critical race theory lens, aiming to address underlying issues such as systematic racism and white supremacy.

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In a community research collaboration, GSSW Assistant Prof. Anamika Barman-Adhikari is studying the use of artificial intelligence to improve substance abuse interventions among homeless youth in Denver.

Preventing Substance Abuse

In a community research collaboration, GSSW Assistant Prof. Anamika Barman-Adhikari is studying the use of artificial intelligence to improve substance abuse interventions among homeless youth in Denver.

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MSW graduate by Craig Hall sign

Transformative Directions

Our strategic plan includes several key aims:

  • Diversity and inclusion
  • National social work leadership
  • Expanding community-engaged research and building knowledge bridges
  • Internal and external collaboration and community-building
  • Forging a stronger school through expanded financial support and professional development


Three transformative directions will guide our work:

  • connecting

    Connect:

    Build meaningful connections within GSSW and its many communities

  • mobilize

    Mobilize:

    Mobilize our unique GSSW assets to advance change

  • transform

    Transform:

    Move toward greater equity and a more diverse GSSW